Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Posted May 01, 2013
It has been my experience that no two cockatiels are alike. When I was 10, my brother and I bought two cockatiels, that were the same age and were from the same breeder. They were both hand fed. One was a pied and one was a grey. The pied was my brother's cockatiel. This bird was feisty and was only affectionate when it wanted to be. I wasn't sure of the gender. It was also a lot noisier than my grey cockatiel. But you could teach it certain whistles and it learned how to say "hello".
My grey cockatiel was well-tempered and extremely nice. It wanted to hang out on anyone's finger or shoulder. It would often sit on my pencil while I did my homework. It never wanted to be in its cage. I even taught it a few really cool tricks such as to whistle the Andy Griffith theme song, say "hello", squawk like a chicken and more. You can teach a cockatiel several words just like you can a parrot. Of note: it is recommended that you buy these birds hand fed as they will be more friendly and comfortable to owners and others. Cockatiels that were not hand-fed will be harder to train and will take longer to get comfortable with an owner.
Overall, these are great birds to have and to train especially if you want to own a bigger bird one day such as a cockatoo or a mackaw. But each bird has its own personality as explained above. Make sure you spend time with different cockatiels if you visit a breeder to get to know each one. Figure out which one is a great fit for you kind of like you would if you went to shop for a dog. Please read up on the types of foods you would give a cockatiel. At the pet store, you can find seed mixes specifically made for cockatiels. They also enjoy soft foods such as fruits.